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Get rid of time and everything’s dancing

Patrick McGuinness: Kray Sisters et al, 5 October 2000

The World's Wife 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Picador, 76 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 9780330372220
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Her Book: Poems 1988-98 
by Jo Shapcott.
Faber, 125 pp., £8.99, October 1999, 0 571 20183 0
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Zero Gravity 
by Gwyneth Lewis.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £6.95, June 1998, 1 85224 456 9
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... nereid, could be the shape-shifting guiding presence behind these three books. Carol Ann Duffy and Jo Shapcott write poems about her, or more exactly through her, while transformation and metamorphosis, travel through time, space and states of being lie at the core of Gwyneth Lewis’s second English-language collection, Zero Gravity (her mother tongue is ...

In Coleridge’s Bed

Ange Mlinko: Dead Poets Road Trip, 20 April 2017

Deaths of the Poets 
by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
Cape, 414 pp., £14.99, February 2017, 978 0 224 09754 3
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... the cutting back; the cameos (‘At the junction of Fitzroy Road and Chalcot Road we meet the poet Jo Shapcott and we walk to the flat where Plath ended her life’). The gentle ‘we’ serves as a disembodied voiceover as we accompany the poets to Minneapolis’s Washington Avenue Bridge, where John Berryman jumped to his death; the White Horse ...


Hilary Mantel: Meeting the Devil, 4 November 2010

... am in. Perhaps a shaggy dog story, or a mangled joke with the punchline delivered first. The poet Jo Shapcott used a nice phrase recently about confessional writing: ‘chasing your own ambulance’, she called it. I am guilty of that. In my defence I can say that I am fascinated by the line between writing and physical survival. In the days after the ...

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